Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Chapter sixty two of the Quran is entitled Al-Jumua (The Congregation, Friday). In this chapter believers are told to drop everything and attend the noon prayer on a Friday with other believers.
Chapter 62, verses 9 - 10
O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu`ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of God, and drop all business. This is better for you, if you only knew. Once the prayer is completed, you may spread through the land to seek God's bounties, and continue to remember God frequently, that you may succeed.
The verse says, “Oh you who believe…” this is a call to everyone (male and female) who believes in God, to attend the Friday prayers and commemorate God. Unfortunately women are excluded from this prayer in some mosques, due they say to lack of facilities or space.
No-where in the Quran are men and women instructed to pray separately. There is no instruction for women to pray behind men. The point of the Friday Congregational Prayer is to bring all believers together for the purpose of worshipping God alone.
Too many mosques these days have become men only clubs. Women are pushed behind screens and curtains or on upper levels where they peek between the balustrades to listen to the sermons.
Today some of the Imams in the mosques are giving sermons that are political in their content instead of purely reading from the Quran to enlighten the congregation. They incite hatred and division within the community and lead the people away from the path of God.
Any Muslim who wishes to pray the Congregational Friday noon prayer in a mosque should be entitled to enter and do so without regard for their ethnic group, attire or gender. A mosque should be a place that any Muslim, male or female, can enter freely to worship God. Sadly in this day and age restrictions are still in place which prohibits women from joining in and fulfilling this commandment from God.
It is hard to believe that in the twenty first century there are still misogynistic men who believe that they have the right to dictate who can and who cannot not attend the Friday Congregational prayers. They are denying women their basic human right to participate in this important Islamic rite which is an instruction from God.
Muslims around the world are beginning to oppose this gross injustice. Islamic centres are opening where anyone can attend the five daily prayers and the Friday Congregational Prayer no matter who they are. Language has been removed as a barrier as Arabic is not the universal language of these centres. Islam is discussed in such a way that there is no dictatorship or instigators involved in trying to persuade the people that fighting with weapons is the only solution to peace.
Every Muslim has the right to worship in any mosque around the world yet exclusion is still possible because no one speaks up.
Chapter 24, verse 41
Do you not realize that everyone in the heavens and the earth glorifies God, even the birds as they fly in a column? Each knows its prayer and its glorification. God is fully aware of everything they do.